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R.I.P. Danika McGuigan, the Daughter of Boxing Royalty

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  • R.I.P. Danika McGuigan, the Daughter of Boxing Royalty

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    This has been a tragic week for boxing with two fighters succumbing to ring injuries and the news that Hall of Fame boxer Barry McGuigan and his wife Sandra are preparing to bury their only daughter. Danika McGuigan, known to her friends and family as Nika, passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning, July 23, after a “short but brave” battle with cancer at age thirty-three.

    Danika “Nika” McGuigan was a fighter. At age 11, she was diagnosed with leukemia. The news, recalled her famous father, “was like being hit with a jackhammer….No amount of fighting in the ring could have prepared me for that.”

    What ensued was six months of intensive chemotherapy and then eighteen more months of treatments before doctors told her that she was cancer-free. But two decades later the dreaded disease would return and take her life.

    As a teenager, Nika, like so many girls, aspired to be an actress. She overcame those odds too, appearing in several movies and TV series. In the U.K., she would be best known for playing the character Danielle in the comedy-drama “Can’t Cope Won’t Cope,” which was picked up by Netflix for its second season. She also had a major role in the 2017 Irish film “The Secret Scripture” where one of her co-stars was Rooney Mara who, like Danika, was the progeny of sporting royalty.

    Barry McGuigan, Danika’s father, became a national hero in the U.K. and in the Republic of Ireland after dethroning long-reigning featherweight champion Eusebio Pedroza on June 8, 1985. A Catholic married to a Protestant, he united rival factions during the so-called “troubles,” a period of intense sectarian strife. “Leave the Fighting to McGuigan” became a popular slogan. He retired with a record of 32-3 and entered the International Boxing Hall of Fame with the class of 2005.

    Barry McGuigan has kept his hand in boxing as a promoter and via his weekly column in the (London) Mirror. Sons Jake, Blane, and Shane are also involved in the sport, Jake and Blane on the promotional side and Shane as a trainer/conditioner. Shane formerly trained Carl Frampton and George Groves, among others, and is currently involved with Luke Campbell and Josh Taylor. Campbell has a date with Vasiliy Lomachenko in London on August 31. Taylor opposes Regis Prograis on Oct. 5 in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament at an undetermined location (likely Glasgow, Scotland).

    Funeral services for Danika McGuigan are pending. A spokesperson for the McGuigan family released this statement: “As a family we are devastated and ask for complete privacy during this difficult period to allow us to grieve for our Nika.” We here at The Sweet Science extend our condolences.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel